Bob Hope’s daughter Linda is opening up about her father’s longstanding career in Hollywood and what he considered to be his greatest achievement: giving back to our troops.
Ahead of a new PBS documentary, “American Masters: This Is Bob Hope,” Linda sat down with Fox News for an interview and dished about growing up with her father and how his love for entertaining veterans and soldiers really began.
“It started back before we had gotten into the Second World War, and my dad was doing his radio broadcast,” she said of his introduction to the troops. After moving from New York City to Los Angeles, Hope was approached by one of his writers, whose brother was stationed in March Field in Riverside, California.
“He said, ‘Why don’t you think about bringing your show out here? There’s lots of guys and I know they would love to see you.’ So he did that,” Linda recalled. “He couldn’t believe the number of people in the audience, because in a studio audience, you get 100-150 at most. But here, he had thousands of guys that were yelling and screaming. He loved the sound of laughter, clapping and people having fun. And I think he grew addicted to that over the years. He needed to be out there with those guys and make them laugh.”
After ever show, Hope would meet with the troops one-on-one.
“He took it all very seriously. It was very important for him to spend one-on-one time with the different troops,” Linda said.
Aside from traveling to the different bases and performing for the troops, Hope also dedicated time to the retired vets by visiting local veteran hospitals.
“He would go to the hospitals all the time and just show up. Sometimes we would say, ‘Where did dad go?’ And my mom would go, ‘Oh, he went to the VA hospital in Los Angeles to spend a few hours with the guys.’ He would also do that if he was traveling someplace and there was a VA hospital there. He would make a visit and spend time with the different men while going through the different wards,” Linda remembered of her father as she was growing up.
Being away from her father was difficult, but Linda said her mother helped the family cope in his absence by reminding them of the good work he was doing with our troops and veterans.
“My mom would always remind us that dad was out entertaining lots of other little boys and girls, dads and brothers and all that. It was important and we should be very proud of the work he did,” she said.
“American Masters: This Is Bob Hope” premieres Friday, Dec. 29, on PBS.